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Friday, July 10, 2009 - 10:21am

Endangered Status Proposed for Two Georgia Species

Two animals in Georgia may get federal endangered species status. The US Fish and Wildlife Service proposed adding the interrupted rock snail and the Georgia pigtoe mussel to the growing list of creatures once abundant in Georgia's rivers.

Once upon a time they lived in waters stretching from north Georgia to Alabama, but today scientists say they're sequestered to two north Georgia rivers.

The mussel can only be found in the Conasauga, and the rocksnail in the Oostanaula. U.S. Fish and Wildlife service biologist Paul Hartfield says damming has destroyed their habitat and made them vulnerable to human activity.

"These different populations have winked out over time mainly due to past historical events, gold mining in mountain so Georgia, carpet mills so everything we do tends to affect these animals."

Hartfield says if they make the endangered species list, his agency could get funds to try to re-grow them. He says the status wouldn't affect regulation of the rivers because they already have federal oversight due to other endangered species in the area.